“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Timothy Ferriss
This quote, from the New York Times best selling book The 4 Hour Workweek that I’m currently reading (more like studying and taking massive amounts of notes!) struck a chord with me. It’s a phrase that has changed how I approach each day and even my life as a whole. In his book, Tim Ferriss challenges and encourages his students at Princeton University to contact a hard-to-reach person (i.e. a celebrity or “power player”) and ask them a question that might warrant a response. Tim’s point in this exercise is that with enough persistence, research, and vulnerability, anything is possible. I happened to be sitting on a beach in the Bahamas while reading this particular chapter, and I immediately knew what I needed to do.
Inspired by Tim Ferriss and his words of wisdom, we are launching a series of Thank You! blogs, directed towards people who are leaders in the interior design world, authors who have helped me get my act together, and other well-knowns who are doing incredible work and helping others at the same time. All of these people share the core value of Liz Walton Home: people first.
To kick off our Thank You! tour we are giving a big shout out to a designer who first inspired me over 17 years ago, and who is still a source of my inspiration today, the one and only Nate Berkus. I mentioned Nate in a previous blog post not only for his incredible interior design chops but for the supportive and encouraging person that he is. Below is a letter that I drafted and emailed to Nate (a la Tim Ferriss style) with an inquiry about his experiences as an interior designer. Nate, if you see this, we’d love to hear from you! Until then, happy reading…
My name is Liz Walton, and in conjunction with being a mother of two young kids (Michael and Scarlett) and a frantic meal preparer, I am also an interior designer outside of Philadelphia. I specialize in kitchen and bath design and am in the process of growing my own design firm Liz Walton Home. I am celebrating my 10th year in business, which is hard to believe considering each day feels as though I am learning something new and have only just begun. During moments of reflection, I have been thinking about how I ended up in this crazy business, and I wanted to reach out to thank you for inspiring and empowering me along my journey in the design world.
I first saw you on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002 and was immediately drawn to your engaging personality. You had a great sense of humor and seemed very relatable, lacking the pretentiousness I had been exposed to by so many other interior designers. I was in college at the time, fully immersed in the interior design program at Drexel University, wondering if I had made a colossal error in judgement regarding my career path. The way you spoke about your clients, as if you were friends, with mutual respect between both parties, resonated with me. You gave me hope as to how life as an interior designer could and should be.
You are an excellent communicator (a quality I highly value and invest in) and able to assess a situation effectively in order to create a distinct plan of action. It is all very clear, and I love that. I appreciate your process and have tried to emulate this kind of planning and implementation in my own business. You are sensitive to your clients’ needs, no matter how large or small, and you celebrate the life they are living by giving them a space that is comfortable, beautiful, and functional with appropriate fabrics and furnishings.
Your philosophy is more about the people you help; the pretty “things” are secondary. Still, each object collected and curated tells a unique story about its owner, or series of owners when it’s an antique passed down over time. I wonder, and would like to ask you, what is the greatest piece of wisdom you’ve gained from telling these stories through interior design?
Nate, thanks again for living out your passion for creating meaningful relationships and memorable designs. And thank you for being real by putting people first, a core value my husband and I strive to teach our children. You’ve encouraged me and countless others. I appreciate your time and consideration in reading this and hope to hear from you soon. Until then, I look forward to tuning into your next episode of Nate and Jeremiah By Design!